Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’
Christmas Eve is upon us. I have many childhood memories of the excitement that hits a crescendo on Christmas Eve. I can remember one Christmas Eve when I tried to go to bed at about 7 O’clock just to hurry things along as I would sleep – time traveling so to speak. My parents would not allow me to do it but I survived until Christmas morning.
My parents always did well with my Christmas gifts. I can’t remember being disappointed with what Santa brought me. I always reasoned that I got such nice gifts because I was such a good boy. You might want to check with my parents to see if my reasoning was faulty.
In addition to the awesome gifts, I also was blessed with many extended family members who would visit. Having family visiting was a lot of fun for me. My motto back then was “the more, the merrier”. Read the story of my rock star Uncles here. In addition to the circus atmosphere that having visitors produced, there was the food. So much good food and I didn’t have to worry about my cholesterol or my waistline. Many baked goods and delicious desserts too numerous to mention as well as a spread that would make any buffet line look skimpy. Back then my mom cooked the old-fashioned way. The way Mom’s around the country did before we found out that eggs and butter were bad for you. Bacon was a staple for breakfast too!
As I look back on it, what I remember most are the good times we had with each other as a family. The toys were nice but they are long gone and some are forgotten. The memories I have with my family are still with me and will remain for as a long as I have a memory. Try to buy the best gifts you can but don’t ever cut corners with the time you spend with your family this Christmas. You can never make more time – spend it wisely. Have a great Christmas week.
I have written about Christmas foods (last week), Christmas songs click here to read, Christmas gifts and next week it will be Christmas Eve memories. This week I am writing about things we can do that do not cost anything – except time.
The best gift of all is time. Time spent with a widowed neighbor, helping out a single mom, visiting a shut in and brightening their day. A variety of small, kind gestures can make all the difference in the world and it won’t cost you a dime. Another thing you can do is offer an encouraging word to someone. That is even less time consuming and can still make someone’s day.
This topic was inspired by some kind words a business associate said to me recently and it reminded me that everyone, especially a small business owner can use a little encouragement. Whether it is a fellow business owner or someone else in your life try the gift of a kind word. I know it worked wonders on me.
As the Christmas rush is reaching its peak, consider shifting your focus to less material things. A little good goes a long way. Have good week, making someone else’s life a little better.
Season’s greetings, my name is Jimmy Sad Eyes and this week I am writing the blog and giving the regular guy the week off. He asked me to do this and I held out until I got what I wanted – a 5 minute tummy scratch each week in January. I wasn’t supposed to tell anybody so keep it a secret between us.
I am going to write about my favorite things of Christmas. I am not quite two years old so it will be a short list as my experience is limited.
Jingle Bells. In case you don’t know it starts out like this:
Woof, Woof, Woof
Woof, Woof, Woof
Extra Large Rawhide Bone (with a compass in the stock*)
Favorite Christmas Television** Special:
Anything with Snoopy in it. That dudes rocks!
Christmas leftovers, hey a dog likes to splurge once in a while too.
When the neighbors and their dog Tina come over for a Christmas visit – if you know what I mean.
Eggnog – ‘nuff said
Eating the milk and cookies left out for Santa. So far they haven’t figured it out.
This is the part when the other guy tells you to have a great week but I always have a great week. I mix in a few walks, a couple of meals and about 12 hours of naps throughout the day. You should try that some time, I recommend it in fact.
*Editor’s note – OK, I added that due to my affinity for the movie A Christmas Story
**Editor’s note #2 – Jimmy doesn’t have a high def Television or use the abbreviation “TV” either - read about low def eyes in a high def world here
Last March I wrote a blog about what I would do with a million dollar windfall. It ended with me left with 2 cents and giving it to you and telling you to be happy with what you have. This time I am going to just have fun spending a million for my Christmas gifts.
To start, I am going to spend some money on myself.
1) A new fancy bike that is very light weight with all the cool gadgets. I will allocate $5,000 to this purchase which I feel is appropriate since this is only a dream.
2) Fix my garage. It has two single doors and I want it to have one large door. I hate this about my house and I have to deal with it every day. Whatever it costs it would be worth it especially since I have some extra scratch to spend.
3) Hire someone to come in and do all the little things around the house and make my to do list read: Swing on hammock while sipping a beverage. This would be priceless.
Enough for me now on to my wife:
1) See item 3 above.
2) A shiny new diamond ring that had a super-duper special feature. It would not get misplaced while digging in the dirt when gardening
3) A week vacation wherever she wanted to go without me.
4) A week vacation wherever she wanted to go with me.
5) A day at the spa getting pampered.
6) A brand new car! I can imagine Johnny Olson saying that now.
7) Lessons from the person who would teach her to appreciate my special brand of humor. That might cost a few bucks.
8) A swimming pool, a landscape pool and a pool table (for good measure).
Now for my parents:
1) For my Mom I would get small cottage to escape to so she could do what she wanted to without having to cook, clean, and in general wait on my Dad, my brothers, sisters and me. At this cottage she would have a wait staff to wait on her. She would also have a large flower garden that she could putter in and when she got tired she could point and tell the gardener what to do.
2) For my Dad I would get a wait staff for the times that my Mom escaped to the cottage. (The law of unintended consequences at work here.) I would also get him every DVD of anything about World War II. He has seen everything already at least once but I guess it would be nice for him to have it at his fingertips. I would also buy him a year’s supply of coffee which would create a spike in the price so you might want to invest in coffee futures.
Now on to siblings:
1) For my older brother, I would get a big and bad Ford F-250 crew cab with a towing package. I would also get him a perfectly restored 1969 Camaro Z-28 to tow to drag races and for general tooling around the main drag. He would have to promise to allow me to ride along. He could pick the color as it would be delivered ready for a final coat of his choosing. Did I mention it would have to two 4-barrel carburetors?
2) For my younger brother, I would get a big RV that could haul a trailer for kayaks, canoes, bikes and various other gear so he could take weekend getaways in luxury. The RV would be equipped with a microwave, satellite, Blu-Ray DVD and a High Def Television as well as a hot tub to take care of sore muscles from over-doing it. He would have to promise to let me go on some weekend adventures and to let me use the hot tub when I did something stupid.
3) For the oldest of my two younger sisters I would buy a completely stocked professional kitchen so she could create sumptuous meals in style. If having this awesome kitchen (I am imagining a lot of stainless steel) led to a show on the Food Network I would insist that she let me make a guest appearance. If the guest appearance was not possible I would have her name a specially created dish after me.
4) For my youngest sister, I would renovate her house to add an in ground pool off of her deck and add an entrance to the pool area from her basement. I would also trick it out with a cool sound system and buy her Jimmy Buffet’s complete catalog so she could always be in Margaritaville. I would also have a huge outdoor fireplace/grill and a bathroom so we could spend all day outside without a need for going in for any reason. She would have to agree to hold all family parties at her house. If she was real nice to me I might even get her a pool boy…but her husband might have something to say about that.
I guess I have probably spent all of my money so I will stop this dream and get back to reality. Wow, that was fun. Next week Jimmy Sad Eyes will be writing this blog and will have a Christmas Message to share. Have a great week.
After 47 Christmas holiday seasons spent within 10 miles of the Pennsylvania and Ohio borders, I am spending my first in Georgia. So far it has been a little weird. I am not getting the normal environmental cues that Christmas is coming. For example, there are usually a couple of months of very lousy cool/cold weather that leads up to Thanksgiving which leads to cold and snowy conditions.
I am writing this on November 23rd and it was 77 the past two days for a high temperature. It has averaged about 68 degrees around Atlanta for a high temperature this month. It has been about 3.5 degrees warmer than usual up North this November and the average high has been 56 degrees. My mind is telling me it is late September or early October. The calendar wins the argument. I went to the grocery store in shorts yesterday and they had Christmas trees for sale! Something is wrong with that picture.
As we enter the first full week of December I am thinking about the things I will miss about that cold weather. Despite loving the warmer temperatures, I can list a few. Here they are:
- Christmas parties with friends in a house warmed by a roaring wood fire. It is so good to feel warmth after being in the cold.
- Warm beverages such as mulled cider or hot chocolate. We can have them down in Georgia too but it won’t taste the same in shorts.
- A fresh blanket of white snow covering a field and sparkling as the sun shines brightly upon it. That is a sight I will actually miss. Of course, the sun is a rare bird in the winter months in the Great Lakes “rust belt”.
- Houses decorated with pine wreaths and snow-covered roofs. That is an appropriate cue that Christmas is on the way.
- Snow men and snow forts in front yards.
- Sled riding down the local sledding hill.
Have a great week – wherever you are.
I read recently that Twister, the game that ties you up in knots was nominated for the Toy Hall of Fame. I did not know that there was such a thing but now I know better. My first reaction was to think of some toys that I would consider for enshrinement.
Before I give my list let me give you some of the Toys already elected or enshrined. See the complete list here.
- Star Wars action figures
- Hot Wheels
- Simon (memory game)
- The Pogo Stick
- Rubik’s cube
- Crayola Crayons (1998)
- Silly Putty(2001)
- Cardboard box - I am not kidding (2005)
- The Stick – I am not making this up either (2008)
- Mr. Potato Head(2000)
- Easy Bake Oven(2006)
- Dungeons and Dragons
- Radio Controlled Vehicles
I am fine with most of those but I did not know that Dungeons and Dragons was a toy since I never played it. I never played Jenga either but I have seen advertisements for it. How is a crayon a toy? I will share a funny story about the easy bake oven with you. When I was 4 or 5 I wanted an easy bake oven for Christmas and Santa brought me one. I guess you can say that the power of advertising over young minds is very strong. I did not have it for very long as my dad was not too keen on his son having one. My mom ended up giving it to one of my female cousins.
Below is a list of a few toys that I believe should be nominated:
- The walkie-talkie (read the Blog I posted called Two Rock Star Uncles to see how that toy affected my childhood)
- Matchbox cars
- The chemistry set
- Games like Horseshoes, Lawn Darts and Bocce
- Pick-up sticks – does anyone else remember this?
I would like to hear some of your nominations for the Toy Hall of Fame. Post a comment on your favorite toy that has not made it to the Hall of Fame yet. Have a great week.
Even before Alice Cooper’s 1972 hit School’s Out, the last day of school for summer break was celebrated throughout the land with much gusto. I remember that song when it was released way back then and it was truly a great song to hear on the last day of school. I can’t think of a better time for a kid than the last day of school and the 3 months of summer time fun that lies ahead. Even Christmas can’t compete because it only lasts one day.
What is the comparable feeling for an adult? Is there one? Perhaps the last day of high school or college has the same feeling but that is really a short lived feeling as the real world waits with deadlines, responsibilities and student loans to repay. When the student loan is repaid there is not much time to celebrate because you now have a car payment and perhaps a 30 year mortgage. The truth is; the utter joy that you experience on the last day of school is probably one of the happiest days you will have in your life. The awesome thing about the last day of school is you have 13 of them beginning with kindergarten to your senior year in high school.
So what is there for us adults to revel in? I am not sure I can suggest something that matches the last day of school but I have compiled a list of some exhilarating times for an adult. Below in no particular order is a list of really great things for an adult to experience. Youngsters out there may want to stop reading now because the list may seem boring and depressing.
The list of fun things for an adult:
- Waking up Saturday morning knowing you don’t have to cut the grass, wash the car, do the laundry or go grocery shopping or do any other mundane task normally reserved for the weekend.
- Coming home to find that your spouse took care of a task for you – cut the grass, made dinner, did the laundry or whatever. Talk about celebration! That is like the get out of jail free card and worthy of a jump for joy.
- Friday at 5 o’clock riding home from work on the cusp of a sun filled holiday weekend with the radio blaring like a young fool – perhaps old Alice screaming the words to School’s Out.
- Getting to work and finding that someone brought in donuts and your favorite kind is sitting there waiting for you – looking sexy.
- Catching all the lights green and rolling into your favorite restaurant with no waiting and a perfect table is ready for you.
- Finding yourself all alone at home and watching the ballgame undisturbed with a cool refreshing beverage close at hand.
- Going to the grocery store for a few items and no one is in the 20 items or less checkout lane when you are ready.
- Checking in to your room at the all inclusive resort for a well deserved vacation.
- Filing your taxes and finding out you’re getting a big, juicy refund.
- Putting on your winter coat for the first time since last winter and finding a Twenty dollar bill in the pocket – woo hoo!
I hope you can experience a “School’s Out” moment soon. Have a great week, summer is here at last.
It is Christmas week and the big day finally arrives on Saturday. All the presents will be opened, food eaten and memories will be made. I hope everyone has a great holiday season with warm feelings that continue long into the New Year. It is a nice thought but often that holiday glow fades very quickly once the normal routine resumes.
For this week’s blog, I thought I would encourage everyone to forget about the material things and focus on your relationships which really make life rewarding. I decided I would take my own advice and tell my brothers and sisters how I feel about them. My siblings all get along well and there are no feuds among us, but I don’t think I ever openly told them how I feel about them. That stops today. I am the second of 5 kids and have an older brother, younger brother (#3 of 5) and 2 younger sisters.
To my older brother:
He is gruff but lovable, a perfect older brother who was always taking care of me when I was a kid. I can remember him making cool things for me like homemade cars from cardboard boxes and wagon wheels, tree houses and other things. I remember accidentally knocking over a make shift club-house that was equipped with 4 walls, a roof and a working door and he didn’t even get mad at me. As we grew older, he was always there to lend a hand and fix my car, my water heater, light fixtures and anything else I couldn’t do myself which includes about everything you can imagine. He is very generous with his time and money with me and all my siblings. He has a good sense of humor which is a trait in all of us kids. I wonder if we got that from him or from our parents – probably a little of both. We all love to have a good laugh but it is especially prominent in my older brother. After I took up bicycling he also gave it a try and was a participant on a lot of “death rides” that me and my younger brother would do and he hung on valiantly and I don’t know how. He is one tough cookie I will say that much. I recently asked him for advice and I later learned from my Mother he didn’t know why I asked him and not someone else? That’s easy, because you’re my big brother and I still look up to you!
To my younger brother:
In many ways he could be my twin despite almost 6 years difference in age. Several people have made that comment. First of all, I want to apologize for not being a better big brother. I should have known better, I had a very good example to follow. My poor kid brother had to be an unwilling participant in many wiffle ball games when I had no one else to play with. I would fire fast balls at him and even though I was much bigger, he battled courageously holding his own admirably (and keeping me entertained). Our relationship really grew once he got me interested in bicycling 22 years ago. We spent countless hours and probably thousands of miles on the road riding together. I think this is when we became like twins. It got to the point we knew what each other was thinking when on a bike ride and even would reach down for the water bottle to take a drink at the same time. Some of my best memories with him are the times when we were on the bicycle hammering away at the pedals in our quest to go faster and faster. We had great times after rides when we would talk about what we saw and did while pedaling. We pushed each other very hard and it was so much fun. He also deserves credit for the many times he has fixed my cars and other things for me.
To my oldest sister:
My oldest sister is about Eight and a half years younger than me and is definitely a Joy in everyone’s life. What a wonderful and pretty addition to the family she was when she came into this world and broke the string of 3 boys. It was different dealing with a sister so I used my tried and true approach and had her playing wiffle ball as soon as she could swing a bat. (I actually think I taught her how to swing a bat.) It paid off because along with my other sister she turned out to be a pretty darn good softball player. I was so proud when together they won the league championship in the 10-12 year old age bracket. But pink uniforms? Ugh. She always has had a good sense of humor and is fun to be around. I missed a lot of her growing up while I was in college but am happy to report she has turned out just fine without my constant advice on how to hit a curveball. She is handy around the house and even put up wallpaper for me in one of my houses. She also does stuff I won’t even try to do around the house like putting up drywall. She has a great family and is a wonderful wife and mother. I wish I could learn to deal with life’s ups and downs as easily as she does.
To my youngest sister:
The “baby” of the family is about nine and a half years younger than me and is another pretty addition to the family and also a “victim” of my wiffle ball. She was a scrappy player and was the pitcher on that championship team while my older sister played outfield. Both were sluggers and I think the wiffle ball they played at age 5 and 6 had a lot to do with it. At least that is my story and I will stick to it. I also missed a lot of her growing up while I was in college but always enjoy her company and she also has inherited a good sense of humor. When she was in her late teens and early twenty’s, I had a good time hanging out with my grown up baby sister. I found out my little sis was pretty cool. I think her personality traits are a lot like mine in some respects. I realized this not too long ago when I was going on and on analyzing something and she was joining in on the “fun”. Most people will tire of my lengthy analysis. She was either enjoying it or was being kind to me. Both of my sisters need to step up their efforts in “fixing” things for me like my brothers but both are great cooks and have “fixed” me many awesome meals. My youngest sister also has a great family and is a wonderful wife and mother.
My message to my Mom and Dad is written above. Look what good kids you raised.
Have a great week and take some time to tell your loved-ones how you feel about them.